Reviews

Philip Quast: Is This All Then

Sydney Festival. York Theatre, Seymour Centre. January 17, 2021

Australia only has a few them – theatrical royalty - performers whose dazzling talent has given them unique insights into the leading creatives of our times, after being handpicked to be in world premiere productions. 

Philip Quast is one of them. In a recent radio interview he revealed that his son was “christened” by Stephen Sondheim. (Well sort of.) The composer was holding his baby son and was so overcome by the beautiful sight, that a tear fell from his eye onto the child’s cheek.

250 First Dates

Written and directed by Tania Aalis. Fringe World. Back Door Productions. Chemistry at the Girls School, East Perth. Jan 15-23, 2021

While Fringe World cabarets have more than a few shows on dating in the modern age, 250 First Dates is particularly clever. This clever and funny offering from Back Door Productions, playing at the Girls School, is proving very popular and deservedly so.

The Vagina Monologues

By Eve Ensler. Fringe World. Directed by Sarah McNeill. Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA/ His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth. Jan 18-30, 2021

Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, first performed in 1996, is the product of over 200 interviews with women of multiple ages, races and sexual orientation, about their vaginas. This production - vibrantly and poignantly presented by Lit Live for State of Play and the Fringe World Festival - is playing at two venues - Studio Underground, at the State Theatre Centre of WA, to be followed by a another short season at His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth.

Bring Out Your Dead

Written and Directed by Ella Randle. Fringe World / unBALANCED Productions. Cookery, The Girls School, East Perth WA. January 15-24, 2021

Bring Out Your Dead is a fun little black comedy from unBALANCED Productions that is brightening patrons’ late evenings at the Girls School.

When Riley wakes one evening after a very rough night, he finds himself on his couch with a dead body. Unable to remember the night before, he concludes that he must be responsible. With flat-mate Finn he tries to deal with the situation despite the interference of a nosy neighbour and a badly timed burglar.

Tale of Tales

By Clare Testoni. Directed by Clare Testoni and Paul Grabovac. Fringe World. Rehearsal Room One, State Theatre Centre of WA, Perth WA. Jan 15-19, 2020

Tale of Tales is a gorgeously presented, beautiful story from Bow and Dagger Theatre Company, playing as part of State of Play for the Fringe World Festival.

Based on a true story and set during World War II, Antionetta, a known communist flees Italy for the safety of Australia, where she and her two young sons are interned as ‘enemy aliens’. Antionetta's husband, Sante remains in Italy, as part of the Italian resistance. They remain linked through the stories Antionetta tells her sons - linking them spiritually - although they have no contact.

Rapture: a Song Cycle of Desire and Ecstasy, Murder and Mayhem

Performed by Paul Capsis and iOTA. Directed by Michael Kantor. Sydney Festival: The Headland at Barangaroo Reserve. 16/ 17 January, 2021

Before Rapture begins on the new Sydney Festival stage at Barangaroo, the host Yumi Stynes prepares the audience. This work, she says, is a musical that the producers hope will soon be staged.

Do I Look Like I Care?

By Daisy Coyle. Directed by Elise Wilson. FringeWorld. Rehearsal Room One, State Theatre Centre of WA, Perth WA. January 15-19, 2020

Do I Look Like I Care? is an offbeat medical comedy presented by bear hands co for State of Play at Fringe World. Set in 1982, immigrant nurse Florence tries to find her place in a Perth hospital.

Fast paced and vibrant, this is almost a series of vignettes as we follow Florence (known as Flo) through her first two years in Perth, through a series of odd experiences, several hospital wards and her home in nurses’ accommodation as we meet a collection of strange patients and staff.

William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (Abridged)

By Austin Tichenor and Reed Martin. Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent St, Sydney. Jan 16 – Feb 13, 2021

“With bated breath …” (The Merchant of Venice Act 1, Scene 3) is how someone who’d seen some good productions of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield might anticipate another parody/merger of the works of the Bard emanating from that company.

Dr Ahmed Gets Hitched - A Wedding Extravaganza

Written and directed by Ahmed Kazmi. FringeWorld. Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth WA. Jan 15-24, 2021

Dr Ahmed Kazmi has been a Fringe favourite for a few years, with sell-out cabaret shows telling about his experiences as a doctor, both in Australia and the UK. This show, just as dazzling, funny and insightful as its predecessors, has a change in focus as Dr Ahmed shares his experience of his own Greek - Pakistani - interfaith - interfaith - interracial - same sex wedding.

Mismatched

By Daisy Productions. FringeWorld. Home Economics or The Library, The Girls School, WA. Jan 15-25,

Mismatched is a rather stunning musical cabaret that looks at mismatched couples and the songs that they may sing together. Expertly performed by Penny Shaw and Robert Hoffman, with musical direction and accompaniment by Tommaso Pollio - this is a show that despite its relative simplicity, feels like it belongs more in a concert hall than in a small venue at the Girls School - so you feel like you a privy to an extra special treat.

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